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An Integrated Approach To Teaching Assistant Training And Orientation

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Mentoring Graduate Students

Tagged Division

Graduate Studies

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.219.1 - 12.219.7



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Paper Authors

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Ronald Kane New Jersey Institute of Technology


Clarisa Gonzalez-Lenahan New Jersey Institute of Technology

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Clarisa Gonzalez-Lenahan has been the Associate Director of the Office of Graduate Studies at New Jersey Institute of Technology since 2000. Before that she held a number of other positions at NJIT as Acting Director of the Ronald McNair Achievement Program including coordination of the undergraduate research experience component, Acting Director of the University Learning Center, Assistant Director of the Education Opportunity Program, and Coordinator of the NSF Educational Learning Assistance Program at NJIT. She is active, and a former Board Member, in the Hispanic Association for Higher Education (HAHE) and has presented at previous ASEE meetings.

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Michael Kerley New Jersey Institute of Technology

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Dr. Michael Kerley has been a professor at NJIT for the past eleven years. He currently is Coordinator of The Teaching Assistant Instructional Program (primarily for International students), and also teaches Engineering Ethics, Technical Writing, Oral Presentations each semester. Dr. Kerle⁹s background is in Theatre and Media Education, having his Masters Degree in Theatre Directing from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and his doctorate in Education and the Media from Columbia University. At NJIT, Dr. Kerley has been very involved with the EOP Program and the McNair Achievement Program.

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Jerome Paris New Jersey Institute of Technology

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Jerome Paris is Director of the English as a Second Language (ESL) Program at New Jersey Institute of Technology. He has a Ph.D. in English and American literature from Cornell University and an M.A. in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages from Teachers College, Columbia University. He was chair of the New Jersey Higher Education ESL/Bilingual Administrators Council from 2001 to 2004. He has been co-coordinator of the NJIT Teaching and Communication Skills Workshop since its inception in 1991.

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Janet Bodner New Jersey Institute of Technology

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Janet Malovany Bodner is the Associate Director of the ESL Program at New Jersey Institute of Technology. She has been the Co-Director of the Teaching and Communication Skills Workshop at NJIT, now in its sixteenth year. She has a B.A. in English from Douglass College, Rutgers University; an M.A. in English from American University in Washington, DC; and an M.A. in ESL from Kean University in Union, NJ.

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Ronald Rockland New Jersey Institute of Technology

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Ronald H. Rockland is Associate Dean of the Newark College of Engineering of NJIT and Associate Professor in Engineering Technology, with a joint appointment in Biomedical Engineering. He received a B.E. and M.S. in Electrical Engineering from New York University and a Ph.D. in Bioengineering, also from NYU, and an M.B.A. in marketing from the University of St. Thomas. He has over 20 years of industrial experience in research, engineering, marketing and sales management with several high technology corporations. His current research areas are application of computers to the technical learning process and biomedical signal analysis, as well as development of pre-engineering programs. He currently chairs NJIT’s Master Teacher Committee.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

AC 2007-375: An Integrated Approach to Teaching Assistant Training and Orientation

Ronald Kane, Michael Kerley, Jerome Paris, Janet Bodner, Ronald Rockland, and Clarisa Gonzalez-Lenahan


The training and quality of the Teaching Assistant is a continuing need at technological universities, particularly for those universities with large international student populations. A multifaceted approach has been developed to address concerns about pedagogy, academic quality, communication skills, educational culture, academic progress of graduate students, and educational needs of undergraduates and undergraduate programs. The approach includes a combination of short courses, seminars, regular coursework, language proficiency evaluation, and faculty developed policy in cooperation with academic administration. The programs are continually reviewed for quality and potential improvements. Details of the program and the achievement of best practices are described.


The growth of graduate and doctoral programs (Ref. 1) at New Jersey Institute of Technology has provided an opportunity for research-involved faculty to handle their teaching duties and continue to perform their research at a high level of activity. NJIT was designated New Jersey's public technological research university in 1994 by legislative action. With NJIT now a major research university, support of graduate students, particularly doctoral students in their first years of study is a major concern. Most research universities make extensive use of doctoral students as Teaching Assistants. Most will later move toward funded research support as Research Assistants.

Like most technological universities in the United States with focus on engineering, applied science, computer and information science, doctoral programs see significant enrollment of international students who may serve as Teaching Assistants. This presents unique challenges in training and orientation programs. NJIT has found that an integrated approach to address issues of communication skills, pedagogical techniques, and cultural issues has served well to enhance the services provided to faculty, staff, and most importantly to undergraduate students.

NJIT had a total Fall 2006 enrollment of 8, 209 students, with 433 doctoral students and 2,396 master's students. Half of all master's students are full-time. About 85% of the doctoral students are full-time with a large percentage of those international students. In any given year, about 180-200 graduate students, almost all doctoral, will serve as Teaching Assistants. Anywhere from 20 to 40 new TAs with international backgrounds may begin their service each year.

Kane, R., & Gonzalez-Lenahan, C., & Kerley, M., & Paris, J., & Bodner, J., & Rockland, R. (2007, June), An Integrated Approach To Teaching Assistant Training And Orientation Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--1678

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